Moldova is a landlocked country located in Eastern Europe. As of 2016, Moldova’s population was slightly above 4 million people. The ethnic groups in Moldova include Moldovan (75.1%), Romania (7%), Ukrainian (6.6%), Gagauz (4.6%), Russian (4.1%), and others (3.22%).
For a long time, there have been controversies on whether or not Romanians and Moldovans belong to the same ethnic group. In fact, some historians consider these two groups as ethnic twins. However, in the recent past, Moldovans and Romanians are being studied as distinct ethnic groups. It is in this regard that the Moldovans are considered the majority ethnic group in Moldova. They are also speakers of the native language of the country.
Romanians numbered approximately 2.795 million during the 1989 census which translated to 64.5% of the Moldovan population at the time. The numbers have significantly dwindled as today the Romanians in Moldova are only 7% of the total population. This ethnic group is believed to be closely related to Indians.
The population of the Ukrainians in Moldova has also decreased over the years. This reduction in numbers of the Ukrainians is attributed to the mass emigration that took place in the 20th century. Today, they are the third-largest ethnic group in Moldova and are associated with the eastern Slavic people. Ukrainians are evenly distributed between the urban and rural parts of Moldova.
The fourth-largest ethnic group in Moldova is known as Gagauz. It is often associated with the Slavic people. The Gagauz inhabit the rural parts of south Moldova in the autonomous region in the country known as Gaugazia. This region was granted some measure of autonomy by the 1994 Constitution of Moldova after declaring its independence on June 1990.
Presently, Russians are the 5th largest ethnic group in Moldova. Most of them occupy the cities of Tiraspol, Chisinau, Bender, and Baiti. Actually, the city of Baiti is predominantly occupied by Russian speakers.
Other minority ethnic groups that live in Moldova include Bulgarians (1.9%), Romani (0.36%), Poles (0.07%) and other comprising 0.89% of the country’s population including Jews and Germans. Bulgarians live in the southern areas of Moldova. Their descendants were 18th-century settlers who came to Moldova for refuge from persecution by the Turks. The Jews in Moldova, on the other hand, are few now compared to their past populations. Most of them emigrated many years ago due to the anti-Semitic attitudes in Moldova at the time.